American Offering Lounge Access For Select LAX-MIA Flights

Filed Under: American

As I reported late last year, American is flying a 777-300ER once daily between Miami and Los Angeles from May 3 through October 26, 2019. This flight is operating with the following schedule:

AA1297 Los Angeles to Miami departing 1:15PM arriving 9:10PM
AA1228 Miami to Los Angeles departing 9:05AM arriving 11:38AM

However, as of June 6 the timing of the westbound flight changes, as it instead operates at the following time:

AA1297 Miami to Los Angeles departing 6:50AM arriving 9:05AM

American 777-300ER

This is part of an overall reshuffling in American’s international route network, as the airline puts their flagship aircraft on the Los Angeles to Tokyo Haneda route for the summer months.

Historically American has operated one wide body plane per day between Miami and Los Angeles, though this is the first time in a long time that they’re operating a 777-300ER, which features four classes of service (including first class).

American 777-300ER first class

One of the things that I wondered is if American would treat this specific flight as a “premium” transcon flight. American has gone back and forth historically on how to treat this transcon flight, and whether it’s “premium” or not.

American 777-300ER business class

At the moment it’s generally not considered premium (when it comes to lounge access, amenities, etc.), but American is making an exception. For  the daily 777-300ER between Los Angeles and Miami (which operates from May 3 through October 26, 2019):

  • Business and first class passengers will be eligible for Flagship Lounge access, in both Miami and Los Angeles
  • First class customers will be eligible for Flagship First Dining, though this will only apply in Los Angeles, since in Miami Flagship First Dining only opens at 1PM, which is after this flight departs

American Flagship Lounge LAX

For all practical purposes, that means this frequency is being treated the same as American’s flights from New York to Los Angeles, New York to San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Boston.

Bottom line

American’s service between Miami and Los Angeles has long been confusing to me. The airline used to treat this the same as other premium transcon flights, but then they stopped doing so. Now they’re bringing back that “status” temporarily, but only for the daily 777-300ER flight. This is great news for those who are booked on this flight (including me).

(Tip of the hat to Doug)

  1. I used to always target this 77W flight back when it existed 2 years ago. The large amount of seats in J allowed me to clear upgrades even as just a Gold. Two meals, amenity kit, and a great seat. Worst case scenario you were stuck in the MCE mini-cabin (now PE). It was (and once again will be) the only way to fly MIA-LAX in comfort. Glad to have it back, now with even better timing for connections in/out of LAX.

    This also brings up the more general point of how it’s strange that AA does not treat MIA as a premium transcon market despite it having some of their longest domestic flights (I’m guessing the J/F revenue isn’t there). Years ago they used to operate 3-4 wide bodies per day on MIA-LAX, now only one. Outside of LAX, they have insanely long direct flights such as MIA-SEA, MIA-SFO, MIA-SAN. All are longer than most NYC-LHR flights, yet get the same domestic service in coach/first as MIA-ATL.

  2. Flying LAX-MIA on the 777-300 in a few weeks in Biz. Will I also have access to the Miami Flagship Lounge upon arrival to MIA? Not sure we will be hungry, but might be possible dinner option before heading to the St Regis Bal Harbour.

  3. Great news. Of course it comes when I am no longer flying monthly to LAX, doh! Great for the future though- and all others. It’s a long flight and nice to see it’s rewarded on the 77W.

  4. Where can I find this in writing? American Airlines is a notorious lier, so I can’t trust anything unless it’s from them and in writing.

  5. The Mia-Lax 77W changes to flight 277 at 6:40 AM. Not sure when, but no later than 6/22 – I’m in that flight. I wished it maintained the 9:05 AM departure.

  6. @305 MIA-SEA and other transcons you mention are well shorter than JFK-LHR, and they are certainly not “insanely long direct routes”.

  7. @Jake – it is very explicitly provided in writing on American’s website for Flagship Lounge access — perhaps try Google. Among other provisions, the definition of “Qualifying transcontinental flights” includes:

    “Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami (MIA) for customers on flights operated by a 3-class Boeing 777-300 aircraft only (from May 3, 2019 – October 26, 2019)”

  8. Flagship Check-in is a big bonus, too. The TSA lines / Security lines are heavy normally. So, I consider this to be the best bonus.

  9. @ Beachfan — Good point, updated the post to reflect the adjusted departure time on the westbound later in the schedule.

  10. @ Kimbra — I believe you can use it on arrival. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  11. The economics of business class are such that you really need to justify it between US cities based on companies and individuals that would pay that premium. There is enough economic incentive to justify this between LA/SFO and NYC/ Boston. I’m surprised Philadelphia and Charlotte don’t get more love here. AA could really make a big push against Delta if they invested more in these locations.

  12. @Ben / @Kimbra – I’ve flown in Flagship Business/Flagship First transcon maybe a couple dozen times, and have never been turned away on arrival. In fact, I’ve been proactively offered Flagship First Dining on arrival at JFK a few times, which was a treat.

  13. I’m still seeing a 777 AA1297 on July 5th at 120pm on AA website. Maybe they still have to load new data.
    Used to like that flight.

  14. @Ben – the soft product on-board MIALAX flights (e.g. meals) is still the same as JFK-SFO/LAX regardless of the plane operating it.

  15. I’m scheduled to fly on American Airlines flight 1297 LAX – MIA on 5/25 and I’m super excited about this news. I stumbled upon this news yesterday and thought about reaching out to you @BEN but didn’t know the best way to do so.

    Anyway, will I be eligible to use the flagship check-in, if I’m in business class? I don’t have TSA pre-check.

  16. Can anyone confirm if American Airlines hands out amenity kits on this flight? Also, which version of the kits do they hand out if any to business class folks.

  17. Is Flagship First Check-In included as well?
    It would seem logical that this route would be included, but American’s website does not list LAX-MIA as a qualifying transcontinental route eligible for Flagship First Check-In.

  18. Yup. I saw that as well. However,
    I may not quality @matt because I’m in business class and not first class.

  19. @David — I have a friend who works at AA, and they confirmed that their internal documentation indicates the MIA-LAX route is eligible for Flagship First Check-In. This is only available to pax in F on the flights served by the 773.

  20. I’m booked on the LAX-MIA 777-300ER in December. Currently in flagship business. I keep hearing that the business class seats are much better than the FC seats. Is it worth it to try and upgrade to F instead? Currently only platinum status … only different i can see is flagship first dining in LAX… am i missing anything?

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